Traditionally, FMV games have not been great. The combination of bad scripts, terrible effects, and abysmal acting can sometimes come together in an ironically fun sort of way, but that will only get you so far, and eventually even the most committed MST3K fan has to admit that it's just not much fun. The situation has improved in recent years, though, with games like Her Story and Telling Lies (which, not coincidentally, come from the same developer), as well as Late Shift, a fully live-action, HD FMV thriller released in 2017.
The genre looks set to take another step forward at the end of March with a new game called The Complex, which like Late Shift was filmed in London with real actors on real sets, and apparently with a real budget. It's written by Lynn Renee Maxcy, a story editor on Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale, and stars Michelle Mylett (Katy from Letterkenny), Kate Dickie (Lysa Arryn from Game of Thrones), and Al Weaver (Leonard Finch from Grantchester).
Gameplay is relatively minimal: At various points, you'll be required to make a this-or-that choice, or reply to another character in a nice-or-not manner, but for the most part you're just along for the ride. The choices you make will have an impact on your "personality status" and relationship with other characters in the game, though, and will ultimately lead you to one of eight possible endings.
And it looks like a pretty good ride to be on. I don't know if there will be enough variety along the way to justify eight playthroughs, but I'm a decent distance into it and so far it's actually not bad: The dialog is a little stilted and stiff in places, but the story is legitimately interesting and the performances are quite good, although as a Canadian it's a little weird seeing Mylett in the role of a world-renowned epidemiologist. I definitely want to finish it though, to see who's really behind the dastardly super-secret biolab shenanigans which I will not spoil here, sorry.
The Complex is due to go live on Steam on March 31, and hopefully we'll be able to convince a proper film critic to share some thoughts about it when the time comes. Until then, you can find out more at walesinteractive.com, and enjoy a couple more gameplay clips down below.